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7:00 pm >> thank you, jack. that's it for me. thanks very much for watching. i'm wolf blitzer in "the situation room." "john king usa" starts right now. >> thanks, wolf. good evening, everyone. we begin with breaking news. the president of the united states and four leaders from the middle east just moments away from delivering statements in advance of a working dinner at the white house. their goal, to get the israelis and the palestinians back into direct peace negotiations. let's show you a live picture of the east room over at the white house. the delegations have gathered. the news media has gathered. we're waiting for the president of the united states. the president of egypt, the king of jordan and, very importantly, the prime minister of israel and the president of the palestinian authority, to come out and make their statements. these leaders will speak, take no questions, we are told, before they head off into a working dinner. that dinner designed to set up the main event tomorrow, the first direct negotiations between the israelis and the palestinians in two years. it has truly been longer than that since they engaged in true deal making designed to create a
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two-state solution towards peace. that's judge in just a moment. let's try to set the table for this. our senior political analyst gloria borger. robin wright. from boston, our senior analyst david gergen. wolf, to you first, we went through this together in the clinton administration. the u.s. president who got the closest to getting these two parties to put ink to paper and create a deal. this president now creating a long list of previous u.s. presidents in trying to get two leaders who are weak at the moment to sit down and do tough business. >> i've had discussion, as i know you have, with president clinton, he looks back on what was miss hg in that opportunity, at the tail end of his administration, when arafat and ehud barak, the then prime minister, was very close to a
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deal, and one of the problems was arafat didn't have the support he thought he needed from saudi arabia, from other arab countries like egypt and this time, president clinton, they are deliberately bringing in some other outside support to back up president abbas of the palestinian authority, to make sure he didn't feel isolated in making the kinds of tough decisions they're going to have to make. >> the white house has just given the two-minute warning which will mean you will see the leaders come down and walk into the east room where they'll make the statements. the shot right there. as you've watched major presidential news conferences, you're familiar with what you're about to see. robin wright, you've covered this issue, including a longtime detail dispatch to the middle east. what is the most significant thing you need to hear tonight? >> i think they need to talk about the time frame and making sure there's momentum here that it doesn't, as all the past previous peace efforts, disintegrate in the slow erosion
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when they have their first disagreement and then it boggs down and there's some incident on the ground where events take over diplomacy. there has to be a commitment to meet a time line. they've missed every time line that has been set so far. so it's an issue of getting there, committing, and making sure they're going to stick to it. >> you see in the room tony blair, the former british prime minister, the quartet part of this, and he will be in this dinner tonight. a very small dinner. the leaders wanted to bring delegations with them but the president insisted on a small dinner. so you will have a small gathering so the leaders can do direct business. michael, forgive me if i interrupt you when we see them come down, but this president has decided to put his personal stamp on this, to get involved and say he is committed. whether today, a month or three months down the road, is twisting arms and knocking heads, it's apresented
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er predecessors have taken only to see frustration. >> it can also be a risk on the ground. after the failure of the camp david accords there was significant problems on the ground, increased violence and things. it's something every u.s. president does for 30 years and, you know, it's something they need to try. >> when you don't wade in to the middle east, you get criticized. as president bush was criticized. when you wade into it, you get criticized because you don't accomplish anything. you don't have any good choices here. i think they see an opportunity, after the milestone in iraq yesterday, as the president said, to turn the page and move on to other issues. >> let me bring in our senior white house correspondent into the conversation. you were talking earlier -- cnn has obtained a copy of what prime minister netanyahu will say tonight. many will say this man doesn't
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want peace, but he will address those skeptics. >> he says, i did not come here to win an argument, i came here to forge peace. saying, president abbas, we cannot erase the past, but it is in our power to change the future. i've talked to a couple of senior diplomats. one told me netanyahu is not stupid, he knows his legacy is on the line here. a second diplomat told me he may be ready to do a deal here. we'll see whether he follows through. the language we'll see in his remarks suggest that benjamin netanyahu knows his reputation for being a hard-liner and he wants to show he's very serious. >> ed, back to you in a moment. you see the president of the united states in the middle. the prime minister of it's really, the king of jordan, the president of the palestinian authority and the prime minister of israel, as those leaders take their seats. the president of the united states. >> good evening, everyone. tomorrow, after nearly two years, israelis and palestinians
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will resume direct talks in pursuit of a goal that we all share. two states, israel and palestine, living side by side in peace and security. tonight, i am pleased to welcome to the white house key partners in this effort, along with secretary of state hillary clinton and the representative of our quartet partners, former prime minister tony blair. president abbas. prime minister netanyahu. your majesty, king abdullah. and president mubarak. we are but five men. our dinner this evening will be a small gathering around a single table. yet when we come together, we will not be alone. we'll be joined by the generations. those who have gone before and those who will follow. each of you are the heirs of
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peacemakers who dared greatly, began and sadat, rabin and king hussein. statesman who saw the world as it was, but also imagined the world as it should be. it is the shoulders of our predecessors upon which we stand. it is their work that we carry on. now, like each of them, we must ask, do we have the wisdom and the courage to walk the path of peace? now, all of us are leaders of our people who, no matter the language they speak or the faith they practice, all basically seek the same things. to live in security, free from fear, to live in dignity, free from want, to provide for their families, and to realize a better tomorrow. tonight, they look to us and
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each of us must decide, will we work diligently to fulfill their aspirations? and though each of us holds a title of honor, president, prime minister, king, we are bound by the one title we share. we are fathers, blessed with sons and daughters. so we must ask ourselves, what kind of world do we want to bequeath to our children and our grandchildren. tonight, and in the days and months ahead, these are the questions that we must answer. and this is a fitting moment to do so. for muslims, this is ramadan. for jews, this is elu. it is rare for those two months to coincide. but this year, tonight, they do. different faiths, different rituals but a shared period of
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devotion and contemplation. a time to reflect on right and wrong. a time to ponder one's place in the world. a time when the people of two great religions remind the world of a truth that is both simple and profound. that each of us, all of us, in our hearts and our lives, are capable of great and lasting change. in this spirit, i welcome my partners and i invite each to say a few words before we begin our meal. beginning with president mubarak, on to his majesty king abdullah, prime minister netanyahu, and president abbas. president mubarak. >> the president of the united states just finishing his remarks there. we will continue to watch this
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live event. the significance of what we just heard from the president of the united states. a very moving statement by the president. talking about the hard reality, of today. also reminding us that this is truly a biblical tale. these are frustrations and rivalries that go back through the generations. consider the problems ahead. there are long-term issues that have always been the issues. the borders of a palestinian state and jewish state for israel. right of return for refugees. what about jerusalem? can it be shared? then in recent day, just last night, a deadly shooting in the west bank. and of course in 25 days, prime minister netanyahu has to decide whether to extend a moratorium on settlements. mr. abbas has made clear, start building again, we walk out of these talks. how to you get over the short-term hurdles and into the longer-term issues? >> one of the most interesting things about this particular juncture is that the situation
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on the ground has never been more complicated. you have a conservative prime minister who faces his own even more conservative settlers. you have the palestinians divided between hamas and fatah, the two rival parties controlling the west bank and gaza. you also have when you look at that stage and all five of them, one common enemy, one thing they all fear, the one party that's not there, and that's iran. it looms over the back. and they're all afraid that iran's meddling, whether it's with helping hamas, hezbollah in lebanon, that this will change dynamics on the ground. they often talk about peace talks being the last ditch effort, the last time you can do it. but we actually are getting there. the situation on the ground, the balance of power in the whole middle east, is beginning to change. >> robin makes an excellent point. david gergen, our senior analyst, is with us from boston. robin makes a good point. the big question is can these leadermake in on the map. to make a key point. mr. abbas is the palestinian
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authority president and he is in charge of his fatah movement and political organization, is in charge of the west bank. hamas runs the palestinian territories, a terrorist organization, in the view of the united states, that has said it wants to annihilate the state of israel, runs things in the gaza strip. wolf, to you first, and then to david, can prime minister abbas -- there are a lot of questions to prime minister netanyahu, but can mr. abbas negotiate peace, when he knows over here the hamas movement then would, a, view that as treason? >> i think he can if he gets the support from other arab leaders. the moderate arab states. he's got the support from jordan's king abdullah who is in washington now. he has the support from hosni mubarak, the president of egypt. if he can get that kind of outright support from the saudi leadership, from some of the gulf state, the united arab emirates and kuwait and bahrain, for example, morocco, in northern africa, if he can get that kind of public support, i think he can make those kinds of tough decisions, if the israelis
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make the tough decisions to make the kinds of concessions that the palestinians need. it's a one-year deadline they've imposed. no means a done deal. >> very significant point wolf just made. david, i want you to listen to something the president said in the rose garden earlier today. he came out to make a statement with his secretary of state clinton and his special envoy, george mitchell. the president seemed to address the point wolf just made, that the united states will take the lead, the united states is willing to put pressure on the party, the united states is grateful egypt and jord reason here to help, but the president seemed to say to others in the region, you need to help too. >> a lot of times i hear from those who insist this is a top priority and yet do very little to actually support efforts that could bring about a palestinian state. so only israelis and palestinians can make the difficult choices and build the consensus at home for progress it only israelis and palestinians can prove to each
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other their readiness to end this conflict and make the compromises upon which lasting peace deserves. what the rest of us can do, include the united states, is to support those conversations, support those talks, support those efforts, not try to undermine them. >> david, we talk about the issues facing these leaders. what about the region? as the iraq war winds down? as people worry more and more about the intentions of mr. ahmadinejad in iran, is the region ready to put pressure on these parties, to negotiate peace? >> some parts of the region are. i think wolf made a good point. let's go back to robin's point about what united all of these people is there is a fear and growing antagonism toward iran. the flip side, iran has an interest in destabilizing this effort. they have -- of course, they are supporting hamas and hezbollah on both sides of israel, two sides of israel. therefore, iran could really be
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a mischiefmaker in this. they could really perhaps bring this process to its knees. i mean, we saw, just yesterday, of course, the hamas shootings, in the west bank of israeli settlers. that's exactly the kind of radical efforts we've seen in the past that have derailed talks like this. >> i want to remind our viewers, we're watching a live event at the white house. president mubarak of egypt is speaking. king abdullah of jordan to follow. we mentioned the generational challenge here. mr. mubarak has been in power for 29 years. he successed president anwar sadat who was assassinated, in part, the people who assassinated him said, for making peace with israel. let's listen to the president of egypt. >> translator: that i look forward to achieving those assertions, reality. and his success in achieving the long-awaited peace, which i know the people of israel yearn for just like all other people in the region.
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reaching just peace with a palestini palestinians will require israel making important and decisive decisions, decisions that are undoubtedly difficult, yet necessary to achieve peace and stability. in a different context than the one that prevailed before. settlement activities. to return our country to law. they will not create rights for israel. nor are they going to shift peace or security for israel. it is, therefore, a priority to completely freeze all these activities until the entire negotiation process comes to a successful end. >> as we continue to watch developments unfold in the east room, the president of egypt, hosni mubarak, speaking. he made a key point of contention between the arabs and the government of israel, let alone between the arabs in direct negotiations with the palestinian, ciriticizing the israeli settlements, which expanded under netanyahu, who perhaps has a coalition more conservative than he. september 26, the moratorium on
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building, is set to expire. the question on the table, does he have the maneuverability, political flexibility at home to go back and say, the president of the united states said we must not do this right now, we must extend the moratorium. the settlers have said, if he does that, they will build anyway. >> well, i do think that on israel's side, there's very little pressure for an agreement that i can determine. there's no domestic pressure. israel seems to feel like the settlement -- the situation in the west bank is at least a stable security situation. and they're very focused on israel, which i'm not sure is helping this effort. their view of the threat has very little to do with what's going on with the palestinians right now. and i think that may be an obstacle. >> don't forget, netanyahu's governing coalition is to his right. and so that doesn't bode well for any kind of a deal, as michael was saying. >> isn't it only next we can go
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to china moment? >> well, to some degree. when you look at the situation on the ground, something has changed from all the past peace -- moments of peace effort, and that is for the first time, you have a palestinian thatnassen state th has taken action against extremists, that have begun to clean up corruption in the kind of hoods that have ruled in the territories for so long. and there is a sense among even israelis that they can begin to trust the government, that it is because attacks have lessened, because there is a sense there is a state with which you can deal, the dynamics have changed. so while there are different kinds of pressures, the reality is there's an opportunity that israelis are actually optimistic about. >> then you have the hamas attacks -- >> you know the prime minister quite well. he does have all his immediate political problems, complications, in front of him, but he is a man who has a vision of himself and does he think legacy? >> i think he does. he knows history.
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he's an historian to a certain greater. so he appreciates what's going on. remember, this is someone who was educated here in the united states, in high school, went to m.i.t., so he knows the united states quite well. at the same time. my own sense is given the nature of his coalition, he rules -- he's part of likud, which is sort of a roight of center bloc in the parliament. ehud barak is the defense minister. he has some other right-wing coalition partners. if he can bring in kadima, the moderate left of center tippy livni-led party, and get rid of some of those right wing factions in his coalition and have a coalition that rules that israeli knesset, the parliament, he might be in a better shape to move forward. that's a little inside to israeli politics, robin will appreciate that. >> and ehud barak is the one who has been the most optimistic about things moving.
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>> it was ehud baraks w who was willing to go back to the '67 line, let the palestinians have a capital there, but ehud olmert, the former prime minister, in the final days the bush administration, was prepared to do perhaps even more. >> let's go back in the room. king abdullah of jordan is speaking. i almost said king hussein because king abdullah is the son of the late king hussein. his country has an enormous problem, poverty. i believe palestinians now outnumber jordanians in jordan. very hopeful of being a partner, helping the united states. let's listen to a bit, king abdullah of jordan. >> -- all countries of the middle east with a regional peace that would lead to normal relations between israel and 57 arab and muslim states that have endorsed the arab peace initiative. that would be -- that would also be an essential step towards neutralizing forces of evil and
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war that threaten all peoples. mr. president, we need your support as a mediatomediator, h broker and a partner, as the parties move along the hard but inevitable path of settlements. your excellencies, all eyes are upon us. the direct negotiations that will start tomorrow must show results. and sooner rather than later. time is not on our side. that is why we must spare no effort in addressing all final status issues with a view to reaching the two-state solution, the only solution that can create a future worthy of our great region. a future of peace. in which fathers and mothers can raise their children without fear. young people can look forward to lives of achievement and hope.
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and 300 million people can cooperate for mutual benefit. for too long, too many people of the region had been denied the most basic of human rights. the right to live in peace and security. respected in their human dignity. enjoying freedom and opportunity. if hopes are disappointed again, the price of failure will be too high for all. our peoples want us to rise to their expectations. and we can do so if we approach these negotiations with good will, sincerity and courage. thank you. [ applause ] >> careful protocol arrangements here at the white house. now, a very important statement, both in tone and substance, from
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the prime minister of israel, be be benjamin netanyahu. >> mr. president. excellencies. [ speaking foreign language ] peace unto us all. i am very pleased to be here today. to begin our common effort to achieve a lasting peace. between israelis and palestinians. i want to thank you, president obama, for your tireless efforts to renew this quest for peace.
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i want to thank secretary of state, hillary clinton, senator mitchell, the many members of the obama administration and tony blair, who have all worked so hard to bring israelis and palestinians together here today. i also want to thank president mubarak and king abdullah for their dedicated and meaningful support to promote peace, security and stability throughout our region. i deeply appreciate it. your presence here today. i begin with a hebrew word for peace, shalom, our goal is shalom. our goal is to forge a secure and durable peace between israelis and palestinians.
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we don't seek a brief interlude between two wars. we don't seek a temporary respite between outbursts of terror. we seek a peace that will end the conflict between us once and for all. we seek a peace that will last for generations. our generation, our children's generation and the next. this is the peace my people fervently want. this is the peace all our peoples fervently aspire to. this is the peace they deserve. now, a lasting peace is a peace between peoples. between israelis and palestinians. we must learn to live together, to live next to one another and with one another.
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but every peace begins with leaders. president abbas, you are my partner in peace. and it is up to us, with the help of our friends, to conclude the agonizing conflict between our peoples and to afford them a new beginning. the jewish people are not strangers in our ancestral homeland, the land of our forefathers. but we recognize that another people shares this land with us. i came here today to find an historic compromise that will enable both our peoples to live in peace and security and indignity. i've been making the case for israel all of my life.
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but i didn't come here today to make an argument. i came here today to make peace. i didn't come here today to play a blame game where even the winners lose. everybody loses if there's no peace. i came here to achieve a peace that will bring a lasting benefit to us all. i didn't come here to find excuses. or to make them. i came here to find solutions. i know the history of our conflict and the sacrifices have been made. i know the grief that has afflicted so many families who lost their dearest loved ones. only yesterday, four israelis,
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including a pregnant women -- pregnant woman and another woman, a mother of six children, were brutally murdered by savage terrorists. and two hours ago, there was another terror attack. and thank god no one died. i will not let the terrorists block our path to peace. but as these events underscore once again, that peace must be anchored in security. i'm prepared to walk down the path of peace. because i know what peace will mean for our children and for our grandchildren. i know it would herald a new beginning that could unleash unprecedented opportunities for israelis, for palestinians and
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for the peoples, all the peoples, of our region. and well beyond our region. i think it would affect the world. i see what a period of calm has created in the palestinian cities of ramallah, of janin, throughout the west bank. a great economic boom. and real peace can turn this boom into a permanent era of progress and hope. if we work together, we can take advantage of the great benefits afforded by our unique place under the sun. where the crossroads of three continents and the crossroads of history and the crossroads of the future. our geography, our history, our culture, our climate, the talents of our people, can be unleashed to create extraordinary opportunities in
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tourism, in trade, in industry, in energy, in water, and so many areas. but peace must also be defended against its enemies. we want the skyline of the west bank to be dominated by apartment towers. not missiles. we want the roads of the west bank to flow with commerce. not terrorists. and this is not a three receiptreceipt theoretic request. we left lebanon and we got terror. we left gaza and we got terror once again. we want to ensure that territory we'll concede will not be turned into a third iranian-sponsored terror enclave aimed at the heart of israel and, may i add, also aimed at every one of us sitting on this stage.
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this is why a sensible peace requires security arrangements that can withstand test of time and the many challenges that are sure to confront us. and there will be many challenges. both great and small. let us not get bogged down by every difference between us. let us direct our courage, our thinking and our decisions at those historic decisions that lie ahead. now, there are many skeptics. one thing there's no shortage of, mr. president, are skeptics. this is something that you're so familiar with. that all of us in the position of leadership are familiar with. there are many skeptics. i suppose there are many reasons for skepticism. but i have no doubt that peace is possible.
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president abbas, we cannot erase the past. but it is within our power to change the future. thousands of years ago, on these very hills where israelis and palestinians live today, the jewish prophet isaiah and the other prophets of my people envisioned a future of lasting peace for all mankind. let today be an auspicious step in our joint effort to realize that ancient vision for a better future. [ applause ] >> thank you.
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[ speaking foreign language ] >> translator: his excellency, president barack obama, his excellency, president mubarak, his excellency, president netanyahu, mrs. hillary clinton, mr. tony blair, ladies and gentlemen. i would like to start by thanking president obama for his invitation to host us here today, to relaunch the permanent stated negotiations to reach palestinian/israeli peace agreement covering all the permanent status issues within a year. in accordance with international law and relevant resolutions.
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as we move towards the relaunch of these negotiations tomorrow, we recognize the difficulties, challenging and obstacles that lie ahead. yet we assure you the name of the plo, that we will draw on years of experience in negotiations and benefit from the lessons learned. and to make these negotiations successful. we also reiterate our commitment to carry out our obligations and we call on israelis to carry out their obligations including a freeze on all settlement activities. which is not a precondition but a goal to implement an agreed
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obligation. and to end all the closures and blockades, preventing freedom of movement, including the -- of siege. we will spare no effort and we'll work diligently and tirelessly to ensure that these negotiations achieve the goals and objectives of all the issues. jerusalem, refugee, settlements, borders, security, water, as well as the release of all our prisoners. in order to achieve peace. that our -- the people of our area are looking for. peace that achieves freedom, independence and justice to the palestinian people in their country in their homeland and people who have endured the long-standing suffering.
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we want a peace that will correct an historic incident, 1914, to bring security to our people and the israeli people. and we want peace that will give us both. and the people of the region and -- peace, security, stability. our determination stems to a great extent from your will power, mr. president, and your firm and sweeping drive with which you engulf the entire world from the day you took office, to set the parties on the path for peace. this same spirit exhibited by secretary clinton. the excellency and his majesty, indication of their effective
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commitment. where egypt and jordan have been playing a supportive role for advancing the peace process. the effective role is further demonstrated by the arab peace initiative, which was fully endorsed by all of it isthe the states. thissish initiative -- and the islamic countries as well. a just and comprehensive peace in our region, including the lebanese/israeli track. and provided an opportunity to make peace. the presence here today of the envoy of the quartet, mr. tony blair, is a most telling signal, especially since he has been personally involved in the palestinian authority for many years. and in the efforts for state
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building and policy. excellencies, the time has come for us to make peace. and it is time to end the occupation that was started in 1967 and for the people to get free company and independence. it is time this independence be established with sovereignty side by side with the state of israel. it is time to put an end to the struggle in the middle east. the palestinian people who assist on the rights, freedom and independence and must lead for justice, security and peace. because they are the victim, those harmed the most from this violence. and it is sending message to our neighbor, the israelis, and to the world, that they are also careful about supporting the
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opportunities for the success of these negotiations and the just and lasting peace as soon as possible. with this spirit, we will work to make these negotiations succeed. with this spirit, we trust that we are capable to achieve our historic and difficult mission. making peace in the land of peace. mr. netanyahu, what happened yesterday, and what is happening today is also condemned. we do not want at all that any blood be shed. one drop of blood on the part of the -- from the israelis. we want people between the two -- in the two countries to lady a normal life. they want them to live as neighbors and partners forever. let us sign an agreement. a final agreement for peace. and put an end to a very long
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period of struggle. for ever. and peace be upon you. [ applause ] >> a remarkable moment here at the white house. if you've been with us since the beginning of the show, nearly 40 minutes now, the president the united states, followed by the president of egypt, the king of jordan and the prime minister of israel. and the president of the palestinian authority. the leaders will go to a private dinner. and then tomorrow secretary of state clinton will get the parties to commence their first direct negotiations. the israelis and the palestinians. in more than two years. this president, trying to get the parties on a path to peace. let's listen quickly to the president as he wraps up this meeting. >> -- and president abbas for their presence here. this is not easy. both of them have constituencies with legitimate claims, legitimate concerns. and a lot of history between them. for them to be here, to be
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willing to take this first step, the most difficult step, is a testament to their courage and their integrity and i think their vision for the future. and so i am hopeful, cautiously hopeful, but hopeful that we can achieve the goal that all four of these leaders articulate. thank you very much, everybody. >> the president of the united states there, using the term "cautiously hopeful." most of the statements we heard had a mix of optimism andsober assessment of the challenges ahead. now, their private dinner. the direct negotiations are due to commence tomorrow. secretary of state clinton does plan to leave them alone after getting the meeting started to see if they can make progress towards a path to peace. we'll take a quick break. please stay with us.
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continuing our special coverage. the president of the united states and four middle eastern leaders. leaving the east room of the white house after delivering some statements. that's an earlier shot of them coming into the room. our senior white house correspondent ed henry at the white house. they're meeting for the dinner tonight, the talks tomorrow. what's the latest? >> reporter: we're getting new information about what may be next here and the role of president mubarak of egypt. you mentioned he was one of the speakers. we picked up from two officials to the talks that president mubarak has essentially offered the palestinians and israelis to host a second round of talks if these go well when they start the actual direct talks tomorrow
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here at the state department in washington. he is offering to hold a second round of talks in his country in the coming weeks. but a key catch here is that a spokesman for president mubarak just told cnn's emily shultz that a key issue is this whole settlements question and that moratorium on new settlements that is coming up on september 26th. this egyptian spokesman basically saying, look, if the israelis do not extend that freeze on settlements, all bets are off, in the words of this spokesman for president mubarak. you see the promise and the peril. president mubarak said if this goes well, i'm ready as soon as next week to host the second round of talks in the region to keep this going. but at the same time, sending a warning shot that if israeli don't extend that moratorium on settlements this could fall apart. that's way as you noted, a lot hope, but also tempered by the reality. >> the egyptian resort of sharm
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el sheikh has played host to many serious negotiations. most of those negotiations, one step forward, two steps back. anything you heard tonight that leaves you more hopeful? or anything you didn't hear tonight you thought you needed to? >> i thought mr. netanyahu made what sounded like a very genuine statement about his commitment to peace. and he did say i want to have it anchored in security. and thats s ahas a lot of ques surrounding it, of course. what impressed me, that he came ready to bargain. people say, well, it will be a nixon moment going to china, will be very unusual but the fact is, historically, when we have seen big moves towards peace in the midwest have also come from hard-liners. you thing begin, you think sharon. so a little more hopeful. i want to say one last thing. what's the role of obama in these talks? king abdullah raised that tonight. he said, we want you as a
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mediator. for a lot of americans who listened to television last night, they thought they heard the president was going to pivot towards making jobs and the economy the central focus of his presidency. here, within less than 24 hours, we have him making a commitment that has often in the past involved enormous engagement, personal engagement, on the part of presidents. that's going to be head-snapping for a lot of people. i think he needs to give hillary clinton and george mitchell a lot of responsibility in the early going. >> wolf. >> i thought the palestinian leader mahmoud abbas said the right things. he directly dressed the incident on the west bank the other day. he looked at the prime minister of israel, benjamin netanyahu, and he said, we condemn these kind of terrorist activities. that's what netanyahu wanted to hear. i think all in all what we heard from all of these leaders tonight, they got off t a pretty good start. i didn't hear anything that would undermine the chances for success. >> i thought the most impressive
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element of netanyahu's speech was when he reached out to abbas personally and said, you're my partner in peace. that warmth was not necessarily returned in his remarks but it was a nice moment. i thought the most difficult elment of those remarks were when he said we left gaza, we got terror. this is the -- one of the main problems, is that israel has an immediate experience with giving up territory and what they got was hamas in charge and missiles coming across the border. it's a huge obstacle in this moving forward. >> i also think netanyahu was also blunt in saying everyone sitting at this stage effectively has a mutual enemy and that's iran. after he said we had terror, he said that we're not going to be -- we're not going to let this land be turned into a third iranian-sponsored terror enclave. put it right out there. put it on the line. and said that's my bottom line, that cannot happen. >> well, when you look around the room, the fact is, israel's greatest enemy is not the
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egyptians or the syrians or the jordanians, it's hezbollah, militia, and fought its longest war not with the conventional state or conventional army but an underground militia funded, armed and aided by iran. the key question tomorrow is can you transfer process into substance. can can you get beyond these arguments about settlements and whether abbas brings all the palestinian power with him to the table because of the split politically. these are key questions. and if they can't get over it, then we're going to get back to what we've always seen before. >> trust, do they trust each other, can they get over the hurdle? rob and gloria, michael, wolf, thank you for joining us. when we come back, a tea party-backed candidate pulled off a stunning upset. joe miller is now the gop nominee. is he out of the mainstream? one on one when we come back. 3q for the worst allergies i want a product with the best decongestant. my choice is clear.
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earlier today, i had a conversation with joe miller. he's the new republican senate nominee in the state of alaska. a tea party favorite who just pulled off a stunning upset, defeating lisa murkowski. because of tonight's breaking news, we can't give you all of that interview. but we want to focus on two comments the nominee made to us, mr. miller made to us. i'm joined by new york times political correspondent jeff zellen. and gloria borger remains with us. miller says if he comes to washington, he will push to have social security eventually phased out. listen. >> right, and, john, might mention that my parents are dependent on it. their primary source of income
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comes through social security. their primary health care provisions come through medicare. so this is not a joe miller comes to d.c. and social security is gone, medicare is gone, but what joe miller does do and what those joining in this message do is give this government back from the fiscal brink, so we can ensure the contracts we've made with our seniors, we can honor those. we're talking about shifting that dramatically. but longer term, there has got to be a move outside of that system. we want to transfer power back to the states so states can take on the mantle of those programs if they desire. in the shorter term, i think there are many plans that have been proposed that can move the shift or shift this away from government control. into, you know, a sect wear we can actually protect those funds. if it's a privatized system, i can ensure that i put my money in an account, that the government is, then, not going to steal from. frankly, what's happened up to
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date, and i'm 43, paid into the social security system, i frankly don't expect to see much of that because the government's stolen from me. i think most americans recognize that system's broken and they understand there has got to be a change longer term, to ensure you can have something when you do retire, rather than depend on these ious that aren't going to be worth much. >> i want to deliver a statement, you tell me if it's fair. joe miller says anybody in the system or close to the system is fine. we won't do anything significant to change your benefits. how about an american born tomorrow or born the day after senator joe miller was sworn in in washington, would that person perhaps grow up in an america where there is not a federal social security program if you got your way? >> absolutely. >> that's a fair statement? >> no demagoguery there at all. >> before we begin our political
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discussion, here's one more question i put to joe miller. if you had to in a sentence or two describe obama, how would you do that? >> bad for america. >> that's one sentence. you don't get that often out a politician. what do you base that? >> he's one of the major forces moving this country towards socialism. he's expanding the entitlement state. it is the wrong direction for america. this is a bipartisan problem. but he's at the front of it. the growth of stimulus programs it the growth of basically government bailouts to industries that are failing. it's not the american way. it's not the free market way. and it's killing the competitive edge. i think the head-long plunge into internationalism is yet another thing that puts down american exceptionalism. we are special as a nation. we have constitutional rights. you know, our view of it is that the founders had it right. they come from god. government can't take 'em away. we restrain government. so government cannot infringe upon those rights. when we're a top-down system,
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which is what's come out of the obama administration, we put that all upside down. instead, the government becomes sovereign rather than the people. the answer to our crisis is not government. it is the people. it's rejuvenating this country in such a way we can be a leader in the world again and we kind of lost that concept. i think our president has actually put our country down, not advanced it, in the standing of the nations, and so i would suggest to you, again, that bad for america is an apt description. >> when you hear a candidate like this, he's a darling of the tea party movement, now the favorite to be the next senator from alaska. how will comments like that about social security -- and he's not apologizing for them -- affect the campaign debate? >> a lot of republicans don't want to have their candidate saying things like this. if this becomes a fight in florida, for example, how do florida seniors react to a fact if there's a republican majority that this could become the message of the party? republican leaders in washington would like to keep ideas like that in alaska.
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we'll see if they can do it. now there's a big collection of candidates who think outside of the republican establishment view. it could be a problem for them. >> they blame, gloria, people like joe miller, they blame the republican leadership as much of the democrats, saying, you haven't been serious about spending so we need to think dramatically because we need to deal with it. >> of course, they want him to win the senate seat, but he's their worst nightmare, right? he comes to congress. he's not going to vote for a spending bill. he doesn't like government. he will say things about barack obama that are perhaps not politic to say in washington. he'll say the answer is not government. and if they win, say, a majority in one of the houses or even both, republicans will have a responsibility to govern so the republican party could be split between those establishment republicans and the so-called tea party candidates like we just heard, and -- >> reflection of -- >> -- will be tough for them. >> obviously, his

John King USA
CNN September 1, 2010 7:00pm-8:00pm EDT

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